The Cloud-Capped Towers, the Gorgeous Palaces

This astounding piece of foppery appears early in the first scene of Tytania. What we have here is a classic high-tech space battleship bridge, commanded from the lovechild of a proscenium arch stage – complete with curtain – and an incredibly opulent drawing room.

(It’s not strictly relevant, but I must also mention this moment of incredible manly tea-pouring. Is ‘Liptia’ Liptons?)

I think it’s fairly clear that Tytania- the show – loves a theatrical spectacle. Perhaps Tytania – the polity – loves a spectacle too? Up to a point, it seems: Ajman remarks that while they don’t really need the acclamation of the fickle masses, but they do need to remain feared.

That’s our introduction to the throne room scene. There’s a lot to talk about here – the way that Tytania keep everyone waiting, the places people stand, &c – but essentially that’s what it’s about: fear. Obviously Tytania has lots of real power (giant, phallic spaceship power), but the Emperor is still ostensibly in charge. Ajman probably finds it useful to display their power every now and again, and there aren’t many clearer ways of doing so than walking into the throne room and coolly shooting the Emperor’s Chancellor dead. It’s not clear from this first episode whether the late Chancellor was in any way a threat to Tytania, but I imagine they had the means to bump him off on the sly if they so wished, so the fact that it was done so openly is significant.

A desire to create fear would also explain the Starship Operators-esque broadcast of their battle across the galaxy, but one thing that it doesn’t explain is the fabulous bridge with which we began this post. There isn’t an audience to be impressed apart from the bridge staff, who are presumably used to this kind of thing. From the flippancy of the commanders – I’m fairly sure I heard their military expedition referred to as ‘hiking’? – I got the impression that they might want to travel and fight in as much luxury as possible, like the Persian emperor taking a supply of specially bottled water from his local river with him on campaign. (Madness? This is Volvic!)

Then again, Aryabhata (really?) doesn’t seem to be a dilettante. True, he was defeated, but according to Crusader he didn’t actually make any glaring errors so until we get further evidence I’m going to consider him competent. If it’s not just a luxury thing then perhaps there’s a desire among these people to remind themselves of their own power using behaviour and furnishings as carefully composed as Fan Hulic’s bubblegum is casual. Certainly the composure and the power are lost at the same moment, when the manly tea is sent crashing to the floor.

It will be interesting to see whether or not this stage arrangement is standard. For all we know each of the other dukes could have his own personalised bridge.

Credit to Anonymous.

Other Takes

  • Kitsune gives us a lengthy photoessay and includes some of the first fanart at the end. We have Rule 63 material already, it seems.
  • Kaioshin is triumphant: ‘This is the kind of show that I thought they just plain didn’t make anymore.’
  • Washi makes his alliegance clear: ‘Down with Tytania! [The polity.]‘
  • Demain declares Tytania awesome.

26 responses to “The Cloud-Capped Towers, the Gorgeous Palaces

  1. It is the perfect recipe to excite someone like me.

  2. Yes, Tytania is awesome, and now I’m just waiting for your final LOGH post.

  3. Tytania is made of manhood. Also the rich opulence can also refer to their need to show off as royalty, since they are only one clan without any land yet rule all of humanity and the galaxy just through their power alone.

  4. I’m debating entry into this race.

  5. Personalized Bridges are what every Admiral wishes he could get, I can tell you from experience roughing it is not all that is is cracked up to be. Besides they have the money why not spend some of it to make a comfy bridge to bring some civilization to the drudgery of long distance space travel and long military campaign? In any case it seems these guys practically live on their ships so they have every reason to make them as comfortable as possible.

    Lord knows that Reinhard did not win every battle he fought, so it’s too early to declare Ariabart (Blue) a loser after his first run in with the soon to be famous Fan Hulic. After all it was only after El Facil that Yang earned his first set of Laurels and Kereberos will the same for Fan Hulic. Ariabart wasn’t being sloppy, but he failed to account for the Whigerd Cannons even then it’s a trick not likely to work twice.

  6. I was surprised at the parallels…blonde brat vs. eccentric, bubblegum-chewing-weirdo. Not that those are really significant, just funny.

    The boogie picture was hilarious! – so was that freaking crazy tea posture. Wtf?

  7. @ The Sojourner: Me too.

    @ Demian: LoGH demands a final (probably final, anyway) post of at least decent quality. I’m working on it . . .

    @ Panther: Good point. They rule from an orbiting castle rather than from a planet, and I’ve just been reading about how early medieval aristocrats conceptually linked power to land. Perhaps there’s a hint of trying too hard in Tytania’s decor? We shall have to see.

    @ digitalboy: It’s definitely worth a shot.

    @ Crusader: I’m sure I read somewhere that during the Napoleonic era captains in the Royal Navy could do pretty much what they wanted with their quarters (at their own expense). That said, their cabins were usually where the stern chasers were mounted, and so had to be cleared away for battle.

    I guess Blue’s reputation might improve as Fan Hulic succeeds against other opponents.

    @ lelangir: I have no idea where you can get butlers who do that, but I want one. We’ll have to see if the parallels are expanded into something substantial or not.

  8. I knew you’d love this from the first few seconds that I watched it, but surprisingly I really enjoyed it too. Manly Tea indeed (and personal investigations have indeed proved that tea tastes better when you slurp it).

    The whole MO of Tytania is making a show of their power and wealth – these guys are supremely confident in everything they do, which is I think what makes this series so interesting. That and the fact that they’re strictly speaking the villains of the piece, or at least that’s how they come across in the first episode.

    I liked the little details such as the tea pouring, the curtains on the bridge and the way in which the ships seem to be swathed in galactic elastic that clings to them when they ‘fold out’. The CG is impressive, but it is indeed the sort of space opera that we don’t see any more. I’d expect nothing less from Ishiguro, though. ^_^

  9. The tea pouring, ’twas epic.

    I myself am hesitant to jump on tytania. But if I do it will be for superficial reasons. Perhaps just for that manly bridge and epic command deck.

    Although I found your whole hierarchy statement interesting, shows of power keep the men in line and the commanders in place.

  10. Not bad at all. Very intersting tactics. Will follow.

  11. The dinner theatre bridge elicited a chuckle from me. Even in space, real men drink tea while they engage in battleship warfare.

  12. So, totally unrelated to your post BUT I just realized that the second picture in your header is a shot from the back of Tiffa from Gundam X, and I got kind of excited, so… I thought I’d mention it ^^;

  13. Finally finished watching the first episode. Whew! I like it a lot.

    I don’t Ariabart made any blunder, he just met a “Black Swan”.

    Before Sir Francis Bacon, conclusions about the natural world were arrived upon using logic entirely. The popularization of the scientific (empirical) method during and after his time lent more credence to observable and provable results. Sounds okay right? It did lead to some interesting mistakes.

    At that point, let’s say after 1,000 observations of swans – all of them white, the naturalists concluded that all swans are white.

    The reasoning of David Hume can express the lurking disaster behind such thinking: It only takes one black swan to prove you so completely and utterly wrong.

    So Ariabart, using caution and playing it safe – is still working with a set of assumptions built over time by his military education and experience. It has given him the kind of success that he’s had. But even more so than financial investing, warfare IS like playing incentivized Russian roulette:

    5 times out of 6 Ariabart wins a battle, wins a bit more glory for himself and the Tytania tribe. But there’s that chance he loses in the biggest way possible.

    I see the financial institutions of the world being run by Ariabarts. There’s no real reason not to put confidence and your money in a man of such intelligence and prudence. And yet, here we are – our proud banks and investment houses losing their shirts, their independence, and our money.

    Not intending to derail the discussion at all, just felt some Nassim Taleb has bearing on the episode.

  14. As soon as I saw the tea pouring, I was thinking “IKnight is so going to be on this.” Glad to see I was right.

    I like how the OP/ED shows a fun dichotomy between Tytania and Fan Yulic (or however you spell it), showing their aims, philosophies and such, and probably shows that Tytania is a story about two stories, and the ties that bind them.

  15. I still haven’t made it even halfway through Galactic Heroes but I’m already pleased with the foppery on display here.

    If there was ever a recipe for creating hated villains of the stars, then I’d guess gratuitous displays of power, such as, I dunno, opulent drawing rooms on a spaceship, are a good start.

  16. @ concretebadger: I’m glad to hear you like it, and even gladder to hear the Slurping Hypothesis backed up empirically by at least one source. Tytania seem to be the villains of the piece from the first episode, but I suspect Fan’s masters aren’t going to be particularly nice people, and some spoilers kicking around on /m/ suggested that the waters will shortly be muddied . . .

    @ xephfyre: I’d say the first episode is worth it for the command deck/stage, though obviously the attraction might wear off over the course of the series. Performing/projecting your power is very important, though I know literature students tend to overemphasise this as it’s one of the few things they know about.

    @ digitalboy: Good to hear.

    @ Yamcha: Absolutely. Some things about the good life are constant, and tea is one of them.

    @ adaywithoutme: Indeed it is Tiffa – interestingly enough, in that shot she’s sort-of framed by the teacup and pot that one of her captors puts down behind her. She’s rather out-of-place in the opulence of the Rebellion Forces, and would be much better off back with Garrod & the crew. On the other side of the banner you can see the opposite: tea firmly under the control of the patriarch. I belive Char also eats a cake in that scene.

    @ ghostlightning: Glad to hear you liked it. I’m familiar with Hume (beaten into me at school), and I’m reading Bacon this semester (our course convener has a wide definition of ‘literary’) but Nassim Taleb’s a new one on me. Interesting theory.

    The Beeb’s Business Editor was saying that the failure of those running the banks to actually understand the complex financial products cooked up by their boffins compounded the problem.

    @ TheBigN: You know me too well! The OP/ED contrast is significant, as you say – from what I’ve heard, the second episode might tell us more about the ‘ED Side’ of the story. That said, I suspect more of the show’s time and attention will be lavished on Tytania.

    @ otou-san: Making it any way through LoGH is good, though. It’ll be interesting to see if the next few episodes confirm or modify our impressions of Tytania – the polity – thus far.

  17. The tea dude needs his own spinoff series.

    Get thee to a Liptia tea.

  18. *Waiting to see what Jouslain’s all about.*

    And I was not aware that you could do that with tea.

    Anyway, I bet the parallels are only given to the audience to trip them up a bit. Anyone who’s seen LoGH is bound to check out Tytania–Tanaka Yoshiki’s name speaks for itself.

    Thus it’ll probably be an episode or so before we get a clearer picture of the situation.

    *Still waiting.*

  19. @ Baka-Raptor – I’m thinking something like Yakitate!! Japan but with tea.

    @ Dorian Cornelius Jasper: You’re right, I suppose the staff are just as aware of Tytania‘s ‘Spiritual Successor To’ status as the viewers are.

    I’ve heard on the grapevine that Jouslain is like the philosophical side of Yang Wenli’s character, but how true that is I’ve no idea.

  20. Tytania makes me think there is hope for anime after all :D

  21. why the fuck are here never comments allowed on your condensed review? Don’t be like fucking Author.

  22. @ madeener: Now now, I don’t think we’re in the midst of some kind of anime wasteland.

    @ 21stcenturydigitalboy: Because it’s so condensed I can’t imagine anyone would have anything much to say about it. If you think otherwise, feel free to write a blog entry; the post still accepts pingbacks.

  23. Pingback: Tytania: The Taste of Defeat is…COFFEE « Anime wa Bakuhatsu da!

  24. Long before I started it, I was thinking “Heh, this one’s going to be right up IKnight’s alley.” I guess I was right, for the most part. What I didn’t expect however, was for me to actually enjoy this, even though my reasons are far more superficial when compared to yours ;P

  25. @ Shin: I’m glad to hear you like it, and amused to hear that you know my tastes so well. Mind you, I’m sure some of my reasons are pretty superficial – tea fetishism’s hardly a deep matter.

  26. >Tytania- the show – loves a theatrical spectacle.

    Is it Code Geass R3? IS IT?

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